First look at Amare, The Hague’s new concert hall complex

The Danstheater at the Amare

Once you are inside, the Zuiderstrandtheatre in Scheveningen is a fine theatre (bear with me for a moment) with a large stage, comfy seats and excellent sight lines. On the minus side it is long way from anywhere, difficult to get to and is one of the few theatres in the world where you will find sand swirling around the foyer. But to be fair, it was only ever a temporary measure designed to provide a large performance space while The Hague’s new concert hall complex rose from the Spuiplein in the city centre.     

Well, it has risen and although not fully and officially open until November, this weekend offered two open days where everyone was free to wander in and take a look. Performances will start soon while the final touches are put in place, the remaining light bulbs inserted and the last licks of pain applied.

We have watched the building, the Amare, emerge from the ground over the past four years, getting more impressive with every new metre that appeared. Now it is all but finished we can appreciate the magnificent structure that it is – but that’s just the outside. The inside is just as impressive and feels much bigger than you’d expect. The main entrance is at the other end from the Spui and one is greeted by a huge staircase, the Tribunetrap, leading to the main concert hall. The vast complex has three main halls. In addition to the Concertzaal there is the slightly smaller Danstheater which will be the new home for the Nederlands Dans Theatre. The whole of the fifth floor houses the Koninklijk Conservatorium with their small concert hall on the floor below. There is also a black box for the NDT and other smaller multi-use rooms.

The main concert hall is light and airy with lots of curves. The Dandtheater is dark and cosy with a lot of dark wood panelling. There is smart parquet floors in all the halls. In all three theatres the seats seem comfortable enough and all the sightlines are good. The rooms have yet to be tuned but there are lots of adjustable panels and speakers everywhere so the acoustics should be excellent.  In the public areas there are lots of nooks and crannies which alleviate the somewhat airport feel of the grand foyers.

So, it all bodes well. The Hague will have a grand concert hall to rival De Doelen in Rotterdam. As I said, there are numerous shows scheduled before the grand opening later in the year so everyone has the opportunity to visit the Amare and judge it for themselves.